UK Gambling Commission Plans to Standardise Reporting Process
The UK regulator has started a consultation process over plans to reduce the amount of data it requires from licence holders. The Gambling Commission believes proposed changes to the licensing codes of practice (LCCP) will enable a more streamlined and efficient process.
If adopted and approved, the regulator will require less information in regulatory returns. Other areas that will benefit from the proposed changes include a reduction in the collection of non-GB data, B2C revenue share data and gambling software data.
The UKGC will condense the current seven questions it asks operators regarding research, education and treatment (RET) into two with the regulator anticipating the changes will enable them to speed up their delivery time when publishing aggregated industry data.
The regulator also proposes a reduction in the reporting windows for quarterly and annual returns. Currently set at 42 days, this will be reduced to a standardised 28 days for both quarterly and full-year reporting.
Licence holders will no longer have to report any court judgements, independent auditing arrangements or inform the Commission of any change in regards to protecting customer’s funds. Instead, operators must notify the UKGC when “key events” take place.
The UKGC state that these changes will affect all license holders.
In the consultation’s impact statement, the Commission said those affected would include those with operating licences, and to a lesser extent, personal licence holders. Other persons impacted are uses of the official statistics publications that the Commission provides.
The performance of the UKGC has come under heavy scrutiny recently, fuelled by a report by the National Audit Office who called on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to provide more funding for the Gambling Commission.
In its Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting vulnerable people report, the National Audit Office raised concerns that the fixed price model of the licencing process, the sole means of funding the Commission, doesn’t give the UKGC the flexibility to raise funds. As a result, the UKGC struggles to invest in the skills that are needed to tackle the ever-changing risks involved with the gambling industry.
The UKGC’s raises about £19m per year through licensing, the last licence fee review was performed in 2016 and the NAO report that this level of funding is not sufficient for the Commission who have seen their remit increase significantly in the four years since the review. Chair-elect of the Committee of Public Accounts, Meg Hillier, said the Gambling Commission needed to “up its game” and raised concerns that the regulator wasn’t doing enough to ensure gambling was safe.
The Member of Parliament for Hackney South and Shoreditch did, however, acknowledge that funding was a contributory factor, saying:
Government must play its part too. Many cash-starved local authorities are not inspecting gambling premises, and DCMS has failed to give the Gambling Commission access to the funding it needs.– Meg Hillier, Committee of Public Accounts
Head of the National Audit Office, Gareth Davies, agreed with Hillier’s comments. He described the UKGC as a small regulator who was tasked with regulating a “huge and fast-evolving industry”, and as a result, they are struggling to keep pace. He did agree the Commission had made some improvements but insisted that gambling regulation was lagging behind the industry.
The UKGC’s consultation on changes to regulatory data reporting requirements began on the 26th of February and is open till the 20th of May. You can contribute to the consultation by visiting the Gambling Commission website.